Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yncredible Ypocras

That is a view into my back yard that I took the other day when it snowed. I keep looking at it nostalgically.

They keep predicting snow but it is always exaggerated. The other day we were supposed to get the Storm O'the Century and there was no such thing.

Does no one else yearn for snow so we can dine before the fireplace on Shepherd's Pie and sip Ypocras?

You can mull cider too but that will not happen at our house seeing that our cider just leaked all over the fridge. Luckily we still have a couple bottles of that Ypocras from Johnson Estates. It is the greatest. It is down in the Southern Tier, down Fredonia way. In generations to come this region surely will emerge as the greatest wine producing region outside of Bordeaux, possibly even surpassing Bordeaux.

Does Bordeaux produce White Ypocras? We will have to ask our friend the pianist Ivan Ilic who lives in Bordeaux. But I think the answer will come back no.

Red Ypocras? Not a drop to be found of that in Bordeaux either. Both those Ypocrases are wonderful wines in the tradition of Shakespearean England. Both of them are made at Johnson Estates.

I read on the Web: "Hippocras fell out of fashion and was forgotten during the 18th century." Not here is it forgotten, I will tell you that right now.

My sister goes down to Johnson Estates and buys it by the case!

Ypocras comes from Hippocras which is a cinnamon-spiced wine named after Hippocrates, the ancient doctor. It is named after him because it keeps you healthy. The wine was mentioned in the Diary of Samuel Pepys.

What about Samuel's Grande Manor?

We should start ynquiring about Ypocras there!

Here is a recipe for Ypocras off the Ynternet.

For three quarts/liters of hippocras

* 3 litres of white or red wine
* 180 grams brown sugar, or alternatively, honey
* 3 large soup spoons of honey, or alternatively, some fruit syrup
* 30 grams powdered or grated cinnamon
* 2 large soup spoons fresh grated ginger
* 1 coffee spoon grated nutmeg
* 1 coffee spoon mace, plus cloves and cardamom, everything being crushed to powder
* 1 pinch black pepper

-Crush all the spices in a mortar, and put it in a large bowl.

-Moisten the mix with a small amount of wine.

-Add the sugar. (If you use honey, heat it in a bain-marie to make it liquid.)

-Heat the wine on a very low fire. Do not let it boil.

-Add the spice soup to the hot wine.

Pour the mix into jars and let it rest for a week, then strain and filter before bottling.

Let the hippocras rest for at least a month before drinking. Sealed bottles will keep for years, but once opened, the contents are better drunk within the week.

That will give me something to keep me going as I wind up my book on Leonard Pennario! I wrote 17 pages today. But imagine how many I would write when fueled by Red Ypocras.

I am going tomorrow to buy a gallon of Carlo Rossi red wine and then I am going to set to work.

It is high time I tried this at home!


Yvan said...


Definitely no Ypocras over here, at least not to my knowledge.

But we've got Ch√Ęteau Lafite Rothschild for crying out loud, so nobody's complaining.

2009 is looking to be a great year in the South West French wines because of the dry summer mixed with intermittent rain...

Y will keep you posted as the first corks are popped in the Spring.

Funny, Y was just about to call you about something...maybe Y should just keep you in suspense.

Ward said...

Try Hrothgar's recipe for Honey Mead. Brewed with water instead of wine. MUCH bigger hangover--makes you plead for Grendel to come and put you out of your misery.

Julia said...

This post reminded me that I had a bottle of Johnson Estate Ypocras in my cellar. I dusted it off after it lay there for 2 years, heated it up in a sauce pan, poured it into a thermal carafe, and brought it with me to a holiday party on Saturday. It was a hit! Thanks for pricking my memory with this post.